The din from the streets grew. The evening cacophony, abuzz. Cycle bells, motorcycle horns, the rattle of an autorikshaw, chatting women, and laughing children. I remember my days as a child. I too used to be one amongst them. It was in 1988, I had just passed my tenth grade exams when I began my journey into weaving. My father felt the time was right. Over the years, I had already learnt to weave. It was in the family and it was natural that I knew how to weave. Playing with the threads and at the loom, I already had the skill. My father used to handle a lot of weavers under his wing. At that time he rarely wove, he took care of the production and marketing amongst many things for the weavers around.
So as I worked on, a point arrived when I questioned myself. Is this what I am going to be doing for the rest of life? Is weaving what I want to do? What future would I give my children? My father shook those thoughts away, reiterating the power of the loom. It was a difficult period then. My wife had to help a lot, doing thirty to forty percent of the work. An earthquake struck in 2001, shattering our lives. Years of effort now dismal. It felt as though life was meant for us to suffer. Children had to go to school, old taken care of, meals made and I had to get on my feet. Setting up a make shift workshop I began weaving. To my dismay, it did not get me anything.
It was a time when factories too were being set up, so I joined Parle. Two days of working there was eye opener for me. I realize I could not do this, away from the family and community I did not like someone supervising me, breathing down my neck, timing my meals and breaks. I liked my independence. Life changed course since then, my thoughts changed. I began looking at the earthquake that happened as something that brought along with it a positive change. Would I not prefer struggling on my own? I was motivated.
Back on the loom, I wove, I taught, I employed, I traveled, I learned.
With exhibitions in Bombay, Chennai, Calcutta, I traveled.Conferences, and workshops, in Delhi and Hyderabad expanded my knowledge. I picked up design skills from the Kalaraksha Vidyalaya. And as I sail through, I carry with me my quest, a quest as a weaver.